District A Century Ago C. T. S. Evans, Q.C., Extends Compliments The Bradford Witness, Bradford, Ontario. Dear Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie: With reference to your invitation some time ago to furnish information or material for your Centennial Issue, I have located and am delighted to make available a most interesting old book about Simcoe County which appears to have been published in or about 1865. It contains some background of all the Municipalities in the County together with lists of the then residents and officials and sundry information. I sincerely trust that this will be of assistance and interest with particular reference tot he part of the County served by your publication. In this Centennial year of the paper I would like to congratulate you on your great success with The Bradford Witness and South Simcoe News and to say how fortunate we in this area are to be served by such an excellent, independent newspaper. Having just recently returned from a world tour with my wife, in the course of which we touched down in 14 countries and spent several days in many of them, it might of interest to report that our experience was the same as many others of which we have heard. That is, there is no finer place in the world in which to live than the district served by your paper. We wish you all the best for this Centennial Issue. Yours, sincerely, Charlie Evans. Extracts From 1865 Book Bradford (From Publication of 1865) The village was settled about this year 1829, Thomas Driffill, Esq, being one of the first settlers. Bradford is one of the principal stations on the Northern Railroad, and, being situated on the west branch of the Holland River, affords good facilities for manufacturing purposes. The post office was established about the year 1835; Mr. J. Peacock was appointed first postmaster. The educational establishments are of a first class character, consisting of Grammar, Common and Select Schools. The Episcopal, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Primitive and Wesleyan Methodist Churches are neat and commodious structures. A Division Court is held here. Masonic Lodge, Simcoe No. 79 meets first Tuesday in each month; F. Robert, Master, John Spence, Secretary. The "Bradford Flax Mill Company," recently established with Scutching Mill attached, with new and appropriate machinery, will add greatly to the interests of the village President, Dr. Morton; Treasurer, Thomas Driffill; Secretary, John Murphy. The Morocco and Binders' Stock Factory of the Messrs. J. W. Barry & Son is capable of producing stock to the amount of $90,000 per annum. Mr. Joseph Bingham also carries on an extensive tannery. Mechanics' Institute and Library -- Samuel Driffill, Librarian. Board of Health -- Dr. Allen, President, Dr. McCarthy, Secretary; Dr. Clement, Thomas Driffill, Thomas Spence. Mrs. Ann Douglas, postmistress. Population 1250. Municipal Officers - Reeve, Dr. Morton; Councilmen, Thos. Driffill, Isaac Abbott, John Swallow, Wilson Stoddart. West Gwillimbury (From Publication of 1865) The townships of West, East and North Gwillimbury are named after the residence of Governor Simcoe, in Wales. West Gwillimbury is the oldest settled township in the county, and was surveyed in 1820 by George Lount. On the south-east it is bounded by the west branch of the Holland River, which separates it from East Gwillimbury and King. Both sides of this river are bordered by marsh varying in breadth from a quarter of a mile to a mile. The soil varies a great deal, some part being excellent. In the north-east it is light, but of tolerable good quality. A good deal of attention is being paid to the cultivation of flax, and a company has been formed in Bradford. There are already two hundred acres under cultivation, and the stock capital is about six thousand dollars. The County Council made a grant of $333 in aid of the enterprise. The managers and directors of the company are: Geo. D. Morton, M.D., President; Thomas Driffill, Treasurer; John Murphy, Secretary; Messrs. George Murphy, Richard Thorne, Samuel Driffill, Edward Jeffs, Joseph Deacon, Willima J. McMaster, William Turner, W. Stoddart. The Ontario and Georgian Bay Ship Canal, if the proposed route meets with the approbation of the Board will enter the county at the south-west corner of West Gwillimbury, passing diagonally to the north-east, meeting Cook's Bay and Kempenfelt Bay, following the townline between Vespra and Essa, joining the Nottawasaga at Angus; thence through the south-east of Vespra, Sunnidale and Flos, and follow the course of the Nottawasaga to its entrance into Nottawasaga Bay. Among the first settlers of West Gwillimbury were Lewis Algeo, Robert Armstrong, John Armson, James Saunders, John Davis, and James Moore. Population (1861) 3603. Council - Thomas Parker, Reeve; Thomas Atkins, Deputy; John, Ritchie, William Armson, Thomas Dewson. Tecumseth (From Publication of 1865) Tecumseth is so called in honor of the celebrated Shawnee chief of that name killed at the battle of the Thames, October 5, 1813. This Township bears a high character as a fertile, and more particularly a grain producing section; the land is chiefly a loamy clay. It is well watered by branches of the Nottawasaga and Holland Rivers. On the line between Tecumseth and West Gwillimbury there is a large swamp bordering the Nottawasaga. This Township was surveyed in 1820 by George Lount, and was immediately after settled. The first settlers were William Walker, Patrick Doyle, John Coffee and Jesse Lloyd. Tecumseth is bounded north by Essa, west by Adjala, south by Albion and King and east by West Gwillimbury. Population in 1861, 4, 546. Council - John McManus, Reeve; Thomas Saunders, Deputy; T. Baycroft, R.W. Lowry, P. McCarthy. Bond Head (From Publication of 1865) A post village situated on the Townline, between Tecumseth and West Gwillimbury, distant from Barrie 22 miles, Bradford 6, Toronto 42; surrounded by a country unsurpassed for fertility in Western Canada. This village was settled about the year 1830, and the post office was established in 1838, Joel F. Robinson being appointed first postmaster. The village contains a flouring and saw mill, that of Messrs. J. & R. Sprole, the former capable of producing 12, 000 bbls. per annum, and the latter two million board feet of lumber per annum. There are two churches, Canadian Presbyterian, Rev. Wm. Fraser, and Wesleyan Methodist, Rev. Wm. Morrison; the former is built of frame, capable of seating 200 persons, and was built in 1837. There is also a handsome Orange hall, No. 1053 L.O.L., Thomas Sutherland master, Andrew Stoddard deputy-master. Daily mails: Hiram Lount postmaster. Population 300. Middletown Middletown (Middleton) (From Publication of 1865) A village in the Township of West Gwillimbury, two miles west of Bradford, on the Bond Head road. There are two taverns, a blacksmith shop, a shoemaker, a carpenter, and an Episcopal church half a mile distant. Daily mail. Population 50. Allen, Mrs. (wid. Richard); Armstrong, Thomas, proprietor Bay Horse Inn; Blakeley, William, farmer; Brereton, J., farmer; Campbell Alexander, grocer; Hastings, C., proprietor Crown Inn; Lawrence, James, blacksmith; Rogers, John, farmer; Sutherland, Robert, mason; Wadman, William, farmer. Newton Robinson (Newtown Robinson) (From Publication of 1865) A flourishing post village, situated on lot 24, concession 10, in the Township of Tecumseth, 18 miles from Barrie and 8 miles from the nearest railway station. The village was first settled by John Lattimer, and the post office was established in 1850, Wm. Chantler being the first postmaster. There is a Wesleyan Methodist Church, a Common School, and a Loyal Orange Lodge, No. 209. The facilities for manufacturing purposes are good; an excellent stream passing through the neighbourhood. Mr. W. E. Towns established a fine woollen mill here, in 1843, which is capable of fulling and dressing 7500 yards per year. The carding averages 20,000 lbs. per year; a steam engine of 12 horse power is employed, and an average of four hands. There is also an excellent carriage and wagon manufactory, one store, and a good hotel. Daily mail. Population about 150.